Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

23 October 2017

Contributions and comments are encouraged: see the Contributions Page

Forthcoming events
November 2017

Friday 3 November Clwyd Railway Circle 'Snowdon Mountain Railway' A presentation given by Mike Robertshaw Msc IEng MIED, Senior Engineering Manager of the railway.

Tuesday 7 November North Wales Railway Circle Dave Rapson, who gave an excellent and very popular show of the Bidston line, returns with more of his quality entertainment.

Thursday 9 November  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society  AGM /  Clive Evans  Memories of North Wales steam and beyond in the 1950s

Saturday 18 November Steam on the Coast Steam Dreams 'Cathedrals Express' London Euston - Llandudno for the Christmas Market.  46233 Duchess of Sutherland: Crewe  - Llandudno and return

Monday  20  November    RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales    CHESTER    John Day – “UK Railways – Beyond the Blue”

Saturday 25 November Steam at Chester Railway Touring Company 'The Christmas Cheshireman'
Bristol - Chester 70013 / 45305: Bristol - Hereford - Wrexham - Chester and return

Saturday 25 November Steam at Chester UK Railtours 'The Chester Chirstmas Cracker'
London Euston - Chester 60163: Euston - Chester and return

Thursday 30 November Light Rail Transit Association (Manchester) Bob Bracegirdle: The Belgian Vicinal and its raison d'ętre.

December 2017

Friday 1 December  Clwyd Railway Circle 'Members Night & Christmas Celebrations' Members are invited  to give a 15 minute presentation of their choice (any format). FREE tea/coffee & festive treats during the interval. Contact David Jones 01244 537440 to book a slot.

Tuesday 5 December  North Wales Railway Circle Christmas Bash. A free buffet is provided this evening and members are invited to bring their own slides/digital pictures and videos to entertain

Wednesday 6 December   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales    LIVERPOOL    Tom Heavyside – “BR in the North West”   

Saturday 9 December Rhyl & District Model Railway Club annual Model Railway Exhibition. Venue: Prestatyn Parish Church & Community Hall, High Street, Prestatyn, LL19 9AR.  10.30am - 4.00pm. Featuring around a dozen layouts in scales "Z" to "G", trade stands, displays and light refreshments. In aid of Ty Gobaith Young Peoples Hospice (Conwy) and Ysbyty Glan Clwyd
Cardiology Trust Fund.

Thursday 14 December  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society    Xmas Social / Bill Rogerson: Roaming the Rails with Bill 

Monday 18  December    RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales    CHESTER    Bob Barnard – “The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway“

January 2018

Friday 5 January  Clwyd Railway Circle Mike Blackburn 'The Welsh Highland Railway (NWNGR)' A history of the North Wales narrow gauge and Croesor Tramway and the linking to form the Welsh Highland Railway, restoration and building of the new.

Tuesday 9 January  North Wales Railway Circle Speaker to be announced                                                            
Thursday 11 January  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society   Ron Watson Jones:  Rails to Roads

Monday  15 January    RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales    CHESTER    AGM, followed by John Cowlishaw – “The End of the Line, Part 1 (Non-members are invited to attend from 20.15 hours)

Thursday 25 January Light Rail Transit Association (Manchester) Tony Young: The Tramways of Bury

February 2018

Friday 2 February Clwyd Railway Circle John Sloane 'From Vulcan Foundry to the Khyber' British built steam at work in Pakistan, It includes pictures taken on the spectacular line up the Khyber Pass to the Afghan border.

Tuesday 6 February  North Wales Railway Circle Barry Wynn, assisted by Steve Morris, presents more of his work.  A superb collection of photographs depicting British Railway practice going back to steam days.           

Wednesday 7  February   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales     LIVERPOOL    Doug Birmingham – “Rail Reflections in Merseyside”

8 February  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society    Ellis Morey: The Penrhyn Railway

Monday 19  February   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales     CHESTER    Ian Pilkington – “Steam and Diesel in the Northern Fells”

March 2018

Friday 2 March Clwyd Railway Circle Annual General Meeting followed by “Film Shows - Railways Past and Present”.

Tuesday 6 March  North Wales Railway Circle North to South. North Wales Railway Circle member Ken Owen returns with a pictorial journey north to south over the British Rail network.

Thursday 8 March     Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society  John Cashen RCTS:  North West & North Wales Reminiscences in the 1960s   

Monday 19  March   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales    CHESTER    Peter Berry – “The Robert Whitfield Collection, UK Steam 1948 - 1958”

April 2018

Tuesday 3 April  North Wales Railway Circle Tony Griffith returns with two presentations.  The Dyserth Branch and an historic shipping disaster off the North Wales Coast.  
Friday 6 April Clwyd Railway Circle John Cashen 'North West & North Wales Reminiscences In The 1960s' The presentation will cover from Liverpool to Liverpool within an area bounded by Southport, Burscough, Standish, Warrington, Crewe, Whitchurch, Chester, Holyhead, Barmouth, Aberystwyth, Shrewsbury, Wrexham, the Wirral, Chester, Northwich and Speke

12 April Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society  Members Evening    

Wednesday 4  April   RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales     LIVERPOOL    Alan Moore – “The Railways of St. Helens”

Monday 16 April    RCTS Merseyside Chester & North Wales    CHESTER    Brian Armand – “Railway Roundabout”      

Thursday 26 April Brian Yates: Light Rail Transit Association (Manchester) The Tramways of Berlin, Potsdam, Lyon and Grenoble.

May 2018

Tuesday 8 May  North Wales Railway Circle AGM and Annual Photographic Competition  
Thursday 10 May  Llandudno and Conwy Valley Railway Society  W. Gordon Davies:  A taste of Japan

66 198 passes Cefn-y-Bedd on 15 October with 6M30 13:38 Llanwern Exchange Sdgs to Dee Marsh Recp. Sdgs. Loaded steel. Picture by Tim Rogers.


Bob Greenhalgh writes: 'I took a trip to the Welshpool an Llanfair railway on 21 October. The loco was 822 The Earl seen above at Welshpool Raven Square station. In between heavy showers the trip on the railway was most enjoyable. I thought I'd enjoy a day out before the Santa season starts.'

John Cowlishaw writes: 'My picture shows the Holyhead - Cardiff Express stopping - about quarter of an hour late - at Wrexham General on 20 October. The fence is around three coping stones being reset within a fenced enclosure which caused the driver much grief, dropping the quite long train on the available platform with this obstruction in place.  I was advised that he knew nothing about this, leaving the train crew with the safety issue and delaying the train by at least another minute until they were satisfied all the doors were safe to open. Another failure of the joined up railway?

'I also travelled on the 18:29 from Chester to Wrexham on 20 October - this was absolutely heaving with standing passengers all through the aisles.  No doubt there will be passenger discouragements shortly to stifle demand!'

Much-photographed Abergele starting signal AE57, seen with 175 008, is nearing the end of its life as the resignalling project proceeds (Greg Mape).

Passing RAF Valley on a dull afternoon, 68 016 Fearless and 68 034 on flask duty (Greg Mape).
The Tim Rogers Show

Tim sent us a large batch of pictures of various Coast and Cambrian events from early October: a video slide show (there's no sound) seems an appropriate way to show them to you.

Conway, 1848 - by Jim Ikin

An interesting postcard published in 1905 by the LNWR reproducing a lithograph from 1848 showing the second wrought iron section of the Conway rail bridge being floated into position with the help of a large capstan – bottom right. The completed bridge was completely open in 1849 after rigorous testing applying ever greater loads. The bridge was strengthened further in 1899 with large cast iron supports reducing the span to allow increased loadings.

The Conway bridge was built before the longer and higher bridge over the Menai Strait, and was a useful way for engineer Robert Stephenson to test the tubular bridge concept before tackling the bigger version.

Three days at Talybont - with Peter Basterfield

Wednesday 18 October at Talybont and 67 016 with the  'Manwag' - 09:50 Manchester - Holyhead -  was running 16 minutes late ...

 ..., followed 12 mins later by the 1D83 09:10 London - Holyhead double Voyager running late as well.

56 113 appeared 6 mins. later on the Rail Head Treatment Train running 5 minutes early - three  trains in 18 minutes, two of them loco hauled - certainly a blessing in a short time. 67016 was unable to make the return trip having been declared a 'Power Failure' at Holyhead; the 13:06 Holyhead - Manchester was cancelled, although a train of some kind was found to start from Chester, albeit an hour late, and turn back at Manchester Oxford Road to take up the path of the busy 16:50 Manchester- Llandudno. It would appear that 67 018 was sent up from Cardiff Canton overnight and  retuned the loco and stock back to Crewe...

... as it worked the following day's trains. Having seen the working on Real Time Trains I assumed it would be a different loco on Thursday's working. It was  - and the bridge provided a suitable vantage point for a close up of it ...

... and the rear of the following Voyager - both right time.

Friday, and  the returning 3S71 Rail Head Treatment Train ...

... plus an 'arty-farty' shot of the train receding. Note: all pictures taken from outside the railway fence.

Past Times: Northwich 1965 - by Peter Neve

During the half term school holidays in October 1965, I parted with my pocket money and bought a return ticket from Chester Northgate station to Northwich. Using my recently acquired Boots Bierette 2 camera, I captured some images, which readers may find of interest. Not the best of quality, but the photographs may evoke some nostalgia. Above, Stanier class 8F 2-8-0 no. 48165 trundles past the cemetery and the “shunt limit” sign on the approach to Northwich station, with a freight train from Chester. This locomotive was withdrawn from service less than two years later.

Stanier 8F 2-8-0 No. 48305, sporting its 8E credentials on the buffer beam, makes a spirited attempt at tackling the incline to Greenbank. This locomotive escaped the cutter’s torch and is now preserved on the Great Central Railway.

Standard class 3 2-6-0 No. 77014 simmers on a siding within Northwich (8E shed). This locomotive was later transferred to Guildford MPD and was the last one of its class of 30 to be withdrawn from service.

Standard class 9F 2-10-0 No. 92163, sporting its 8H shed plate (Birkenhead Mollington Street) stands on Northwich shed between duties. This engine was only seven years old at the time and would be scrapped at Cambells of Airdrie some three years later. Note the shear legs in the background, which were used to lift locomotives for bogie removal etc.

Standard class 3 2-6-0 No. 77011 passes through Northwich station with a short freight train from the Chester direction. 77011 was withdrawn from Northwich shed some four months later and cut up by the Central Wagon Company, Wigan in May 1966.

A Trip from Scarborough to Blaenau - with Eddie Knorn

From time to time we receive mail-shots from West Coast Railways, and sometimes we are tempted by the excursions on offer. A few years ago we moved away from North Wales, and I could not pass over the opportunity for an excursion back there on 4 October that started from our local station, Scarborough!
When the alarm clock went off in the middle of the night I doubted my sanity, but the thought of warm, comfortable carriages on a long train journey encouraged us to leave the house for the short drive to Scarborough. It is a good job that we arrived in the station car park ten minutes before the train was due to leave at 06.00 - TransPennine Express's car park ticket machines were not exactly user-friendly, but we got a ticket in the end.

My wife and I were seated in Coach A at the very rear of the train, and I noted 47 760 was attached as the "tail" loco. The tour had been advertised as "vintage diesel locomotive haulage" so I was disappointed to find the relatively modern 57 315 at the front of the train. The tour guide book mentioned a pair of 37s, but it was not to be. We departed on time at 06.00 and had not left the station area when the carriage lighting went off. This was soon rectified, and we settled in to await the service of breakfast; I always like to embellish the occasional train excursion treat with the Premier Dining experience ... As the daylight appeared, so did the catering crew with our breakfast. The meal was good, but the carriage heating was too good, until the train staff switched it off.

The route south of York took us via a pick-up at Wakefield Kirkgate, however signalling problems stopped us before we got there. Eventually Network Rail were able to let us move, and we reached Kirkgate. In spite of the refurbishment of the imposing station building, the station still has an air of grimness about it. The length of the train, eleven coaches, meant the rear part was still off the platform.

Although we were away from Kirkgate 60 minutes late, the train manager assured us that we would recover our schedule. Passing the former Healey Mills yard, we went on via Mirfield and Brighouse to then pass through Summit Tunnel and descend into Manchester Victoria. This was the first time I had been this was for a while and the integration of the Metrolink Oldham Loop route into the old railway infrastructure was very visible. As we departed Victoria, I noted two 319 EMUs, one still in the striking "Northern Electrics" livery, the other repainted in a bland mostly grey new livery. A backwards step, I think.

Construction of the Ordsall Chord was progressing as we passed, then it was time to cross Chat Moss to Earlestown then on to Chester, where we passed through on the centre road. Around this time, we enjoyed our mid morning snack, courtesy of the attentive catering team. Notable sights as we travelled along the coast were the Duke of Lancaster ferry in its newish coat of black paint - an improvement on the previous "art" perhaps? - and the re-modelled layout at Abergele. By the time we arrived at Llandudno Junction, 47 760 on the rear of the train was already running and before long the driver had changed ends and collected the token. By this time we were only about 15 minutes late, so hopefully did not cause too much delay to the Arriva 150 waiting to cross with us at Llanrwst North. Upon arrival at Betws-y-Coed, many of the passengers alighted. This was the advertised destination of the tour, however we remained in our seats until arrival at Blaenau Ffestiniog (above). As we were in the front carriage, the Class 47 soundtrack was enjoyed to the full.

A visit to the town here was an option, but we had instead chosen to indulge in the add-on ride on the Ffestiniog Railway to Tan-y-Bwlch. We were guided across the foot crossing at the end of the platform just as the FR loco Earl of Merioneth was running round the train.

Commendably, a significant number of the FR carriages had been reserved for rail tour passengers. The ride to Tan-y-Bwlch was as spectacular as ever, enhanced by the FR steward bringing food and drink to us.

The carriage we rode in had the useful feature of the FR/WHR route map on the table top. Upon arrival at Tan-y-Bwlch, another FR train crossed with ours, but we opted to wait for our special additional train.

Earl of Merioneth at Tan-y-Bwlch.

The FR refreshment room seemed to cope admirably with the volume of passenger that descended on it. The special train to return us to Blaenau was heard in the distance for a few minutes before loco E190 Lyd came into view. Once we were aboard we returned up the hill where there was some time available to obtain a few photos before rejoining the West Coast train.

Lyd runs round at Blaenau.

57 315 in the loop.

The excursion had been parked in the run round loop, and it moved out towards the old LNWR station before setting back into the platform (above). The gradient and size of train led to 47 760 having to expend some effort to accomplish this.

Back aboard, the table was laid for our evening meal and looked inviting.

'Windermere' was our dining carriage; one of the Mk2 Pullman cars built in the 1960s for the Manchester Pullman service.

The return journey was doubly enjoyable - not only good food and wine but also 47 760 just in front of us. The return route was identical, so a stiff climb from Manchester Victoria to Miles Platting was enjoyed. Everything was punctual until York, where there was a delay due to the need to find a Virgin to assist in train despatch. Arrival back in Scarborough was around 23.30, with another enjoyable excursion in the book.

RHTT corner

On 17 October Alan Crawshaw was on hand at the remote station of Bodorgan to see the westbound Rail Head Treatment Train, running 20 minutes early with 56 113 ...

... and 56 096, like all locos used on the top-and-tail version of these trains, complete with coating of gunge thrown up by the high-pressure water jets.

Abergele, 23 October (Greg Mape)

Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Revisited

Earl of Merioneth approaches the Harbour station in Porthmadog on the Ffestiniog Railway's Victorian weekend, 6 October (Rowan Crawshaw)

Merddin Emrys runs round at Beddgelert on 6 October (Rowan Crawshaw).

Prince arrives at Porthmadog on Ffestiniog Victorian Weekend on 6 October 2017 (Rowan Crawshaw).

The Ffestiniog Railway Hearse Van has been overhauled and returned to service after spending time in the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway museum It was used on 7 October to transport the
ashes for a member of the Ffestiniog Railway Society from Porthmadog to Tan-y-Bwlch (Ron Walker).

At Caernarfon, the new Welsh Highland Railway station building is under construction (Ron Walker).

The steelwork gives an idea of the size of the building, which will certainly be the biggest narrow-gauge station in Britain (Ron Walker).

While on the subject of the Welsh Highland, we must clarify the facts regarding Garratt locomotives being restored, as a note in an earlier Notice Board was confused. Undergoing restoration at Dinas at present is South African Railways NGG16 Class Garratt 130 built by Beyer Peacock in 1951, and now owned by Peter Best of Steam Powered Services Ltd who purchased it from the Exmoor Steam Centre.

This should not be confused with another of the class, 109, which was purchased in 2009, also from the Exmoor Steam Centre,  by pop music producer and rail enthusiast Pete Waterman for use on the Welsh Highland, initially it began overhaul at Waterman's LNWR heritage works in Crewe by apprentices as part of their studies, but it seems the Government cancelled the scheme's funding, and the loco has been moved to Dinas works to wait its turn.

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